Board approves plans for solar energy farm

Despite neighbors’ objections, county commissioners approved plans Monday for a solar energy farm on 53 acres in western Rowan.

The board voted 4-1 for the proposal, with Commissioner Jon Barber dissenting.

Argand Energy Solutions requested a conditional use permit for the 5 megawatt system to built on land owned by William and Linda Kesler in the 1300 block of Redmon Road.

In addition to requirements already in the conditional use language, the developers agreed to plant more buffering along the perimeter of the project.

According to a memo prepared by Senior Planner Shane Stewart, the site is surrounded by active farmland, homes on large lots and the RDH Tire plant.

Only a few homes would have clear views of the solar panels, with a few more having marginal views, he wrote. But one neighbor said she didn’t want to see them at all.

Gerald Brown said she and her husband Paul live across the road from the site.

“We don’t want to look at this the rest of our lives,” the 73-year-old Brown told commissioners. “Please don’t do this to us.”

Charles Floyd also lives on Redmon Road. His wife owns a farm and put a conservation easement on it, as did the owner of a neighboring farm, he said.

He said solar energy farms should only be built in industrial areas.

“This is not an industrial area. This is a rural area,” he said. “And putting a solar field in this area is totally inappropriate.”

County officials have established rural areas as appropriate for solar energy farms, but Barber said three previous projects had no opposition. He moved to table the Redmon Road request for 30 days “to better understand the opposition,” but the motion died without a second.

Board Vice Chairman Craig Pierce acknowledged residents don’t want such structures built where they can see them, but he said the property owner’s rights must also be taken into consideration.

He added that solar power is “the wave of the future” and said instead of farming crops, there’s growing demand for farming the sun’s energy.

Notice about comments: is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Do not post the following:

  • Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
  • Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
  • Personal attacks, insults or threats.
  • The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
  • Comments unrelated to the story.